“High blood pressure? But I don’t have any symptoms” is a common phrase heard by doctors around the world by those with hypertension.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension is a medical condition where the body produces excess force when pumping blood out of the heart while resting between heartbeats, or both. The two areas of force make up the systolic (top number) and the diastolic (bottom number) of a blood pressure reading.

Hypertension is commonly thought to affect middle-aged men who are too stressed out with work to relax. This misconception couldn’t be more wrong. Hypertension is not gendered specific or even age-specific; it affects a variety of ages, male and female, and even children. When untreated, high blood pressure creates problems such as increased risk of blood clots, tissue, and organ damage from narrowed and blocked arteries, vascular scarring, and more. Even worse, high blood pressure can result in a heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure.

Fortunately, most people are able to lower their blood pressure and health risk without medication. Here are common ways to lower your blood pressure naturally:

Eating Healthy: Eating healthy isn’t the easiest thing to do, but getting the suggested servings of fruits, veggies, protein, and low-fat dairy is crucial. Allrecipes Best Foods to Beat High Blood Pressure is a great way to adjust your diet while enjoying every bite.

Exercising Regularly: As little as 30 minutes of physical activity daily can help lower your blood pressure. However, it’s best to consult your physician on the best exercise plan for your body before hitting the gym.

Losing Weight: If you’re carrying around extra pounds, you face a higher-than-average risk of developing serious medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, and more. If you’re committed to eating healthy and exercising regularly, losing weight will come naturally.

Massage: Regular therapeutic massage sessions have shown to help lower both diastolic and systolic blood pressure. In addition to lowering your blood pressure, massage therapy offers relief from daily stresses, anxiety, and any additional aches and pains you may have.

Reduce the Sodium Intake: Have you looked at the nutrition facts on your crackers, cheese, snack foods, or pickles lately? The amount of sodium will shock you! Next time you grocery shop or eat out, check out the amount of sodium and opt for something with less. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends those with high blood pressure to consume 1,500 milligrams, or less, of salt each day.

Limit Alcohol Consumption: It’s easy to meet up with friends or coworkers after work and kick back a couple of drinks. Become conscious of how much you drink, tracking your drinking patterns with blood pressure levels. This may help you understand how alcohol affects your blood pressure.

High blood pressure is one of the most preventable medical conditions. Simple lifestyle changes such as those mentioned above can help to lower blood pressure, eliminate the need for pharmaceuticals, and help you lead a healthier and happier life.

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